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State tennis: Locals look for breakout run

Individual tourney starts today, team tourney Monday

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Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 6:00 pm

Last year it was Mountain Pointe's Nathan Keso making an unforeseen run to the elite eight in the state tennis tournament.

The year before, the Pride's Andy Nguyen won it all.

Who is up to the task this season?

It is about to come to light as the Division I individual state meet gets under way Friday, April 15 with the team tournament starting Monday, April 18.

The boys event starts at Indians School Park in Scottsdale and the girls tournament starts at Gene Autry Park in Mesa.

Keso is as good of a choice as any after coming away with All-Tempe City tournament title in No. 2 singles by beating Marcos de Niza's Dara Farhadi, 6-2, 6-2.

Although his teammate Sam Wang, who won the city No. 1 singles title with an easy 6-1, 6-1 match over Desert Vista's Karl Leclerc, might have something to say about it.

The tournament is a 128-player field, as is the doubles event starting the same day, so they hope to be in it for the long haul.

The Desert Vista boys plan on entering Bryan Wong and Sanjay Ramiah, but the No. 1 doubles team of Leclerc and Mohammad Saleem might be the Thunder's best hope at making noise.

The tandem won the All-City meet with an impressive 7-5, 6-2 win over Mountain Pointe's Sam Wang and Corey Ferguson.

"The season has been an up and down ride," Desert Vista boys coach Wayne Brimley said. "It is now time for each player to take a close look at what can they do for the team each match, set, game and point to give their best and leave everything they have on the court.

"No regrets."

Mountain Pointe is entering Sam Wang and Keso as its singles participants with the doubles teams being Wang and David Battock and Keso and Jonah Matanky.

"We are ready," Mountain Pointe coach Larry Holmes. "Keso surprised some people last year, including me, but that isn't going to happen this time. People are going to be ready for him. I think Sam can do it this season."

On the girls side, Desert Vista plans on using Kathryn Hunnicutt and Kacie Bottock in singles with Justine Quaggan and Nicole Flanagan as No. 1 doubles and Amelia Goe and Jennifer Kahn.

Quaggan and Flanagan have won 85 percent of their matches this season and should make a good run, while Hunnicutt has been impressive this season despite choosing not to play last year.

Mountain Pointe girls will have Mae Maiefsky and Anastacia Pushkarenko in singles. The doubles teams are Rachel Dominy and Andrea Bell and Tana Klinger and Karah Hedquist.

The Class 5A Division I team tournaments start on Monday with the Desert Vista girls expected to grab the highest seed amongst area teams.

The Thunder was fourth after going 11-3 in power point matches with two of those defeats coming against the teams ahead of them in the seeding as Phoenix Xavier, Tucson Salpointe and Mesa Mountain View grabbed the top three seeds.

Desert Vista lost 8-1 to both Xavier and Mountain View and had a match against Salpointe canceled after a blown tire on the bus ride to Tucson ended the long drive prematurely.

"This is our best position in the last eight years that I have been coaching," Singer said. "We are feeling really good about the state team tournament. I would have to attribute our success this year to the experience of our seniors. They are team leaders, enthusiastic, and are able to use their skills and experience to work their way through a tough match."

The Mountain Pointe girls lost its regular season finale against Casa Grande and might have had trouble making it into the tournament with a 6-8 record, but as champs of the East Valley Region the Pride gets an automatic bid.

In the boys team tournament, both local teams will be hosting first-round matches as top eight seeds in the 16-team tournaments.

"We have been working for this all year," Holmes said. "We are playing well, but one off match and your season can be over, so you have to be at your best."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or

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Jason P. Skoda
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